A year and a half after the earthquake in Haiti... Where's Waldo?
A year and a half after the earthquake in Haiti the tent cities are everywhere. The Cholera epidemic is worse than last year, and there is little construction to be seen. There are expensive white Range Rovers and Land Cruisers driving everywhere with the logos of every aid organization imaginable driving around at $5.00/gallon but what are they doing?
Mostly I saw them driving in and out of Petion-Ville, the wealthy area above Port-au-Prince. Sometimes I saw them coming in and out of their compounds, and when I went to visit the legendary Hotel Oloffson, owned partly by the lead singer of RAM there were plenty of foreigners lounging around eating, drinking and chatting.
What aren't they doing?
What I didn't see them doing was going in or out of the tent cities. I didn't see them constructing new homes or schools. The only place I saw people helping cholera victims was when I visited Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Dechappelles in the Artibonite - not in Port-au-Prince. When I did see construction it was being done by Haitians with no sign of Aid involvement.
I admit I didn't see enough
Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying they're not doing anything. First off I'm sure they're doing something, and secondly I didn't spend enough time in Port-au-Prince to make that accusation. The only thing I can say is that I didn't see it. I saw people living in miserable conditions far longer than they should have been considering the vast amount of money that has been "pledged" to the country for rebuilding. I think about the vast amount of that money that was donated by caring individuals that want to see it go to good use, and the even vaster amount that came from tax dollars of citizens whether they agreed with it or not. I see a massive workforce from all over the world that could do amazing things if they wanted to. I see an environment that I should have seen 18 months ago, a system that should have completed their job a long time ago, packed up and left by now.
I can't accuse them of doing nothing, but I will make the bold accusation that they're not doing enough.
By the way - the banner on the top right of the headlining image hangs above a tent city in the once beautiful Champ de Mars park in Port-au-Prince and faces the ruined palace. It translates roughly as "President you serve the people. Don't forget it."
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